I have pretty much been self-employed throughout my career, so in that sense, I have created my own jobs. However, the one thing I really had to fight for was my place at PARTS in Brussels.
When I was 14, the dance company Rosas, founded by choreographer and dancer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, came to perform in Johannesburg. I had never seen people dance like that before and I fell completely in love. I discovered she had founded PARTS, a school for contemporary dance, and I knew I wanted to go to that school.
That goal involved a lot of preparation: as one of the first steps, I had to go to Cape Town and live there for a year, where I trained with Jazzart Dance Theatre. As well as the training I received, it was also so that I could get used to living away from home. It was hard, but worth it. When I finally went to Belgium for the audition, I was very nervous, which wasn’t helped by the fact that when I turned up on the first day there were more than 250 other dancers auditioning too.
I remember just wanting to run away. But I didn’t. Instead, I just tried to enjoy the moment and do my best work. I don’t think I would have done anything different, since what I did do got me into the school, and that is still one of the most fulfilling achievements of my career.
What I learned during my time there, and have carried with me into my work since then, is that training is never-ending. You learn something new every day, and every day it is important to keep working your butt off, to stay passionate and disciplined and as inquisitive as you can.
My advice to dancers and other performers, whether they are training, graduating or working, is to make it a priority to keep learning. There is never any such thing as “I have made it”, and no matter how long you work in this business, remember that you remain a student forever.
Training: Contemporary dance and classical ballet, Performing Arts Research and Training Studios, Brussels
Theatre includes: Romeo and Juliet, Carmen, Swan Lake, The Bitter End of Rosemary, Giselle
Other credits: Artist in residence at the Dance Factory, Johannesburg
Agent/manager: The Dance Factory